I’ve had a hard time getting back into the swing of writing since my back injury. I can write for hours—even days—on end when I’m in the thick of a story. The side-effect of this full immersion technique is that without immersion, I tend to forget. How does Leila from Kor narrate, again? What are her motives? How does she respond to situations?
I don’t want the work to show my disconnect, so I decided the best strategy was to ease myself back into the writer’s chair (literally and figuratively). Start with a few short stories to work my way back to “able,” and then use the creative momentum to work on Kor, or How I Met Paula Wolfe, or any of those other as-yet-unfinished tales I’ve promised to myself.
To start on the right foot today, I wrote this short piece, titled Angel First.
My name is Angelica.
Not AHN-gelika, like you’d think. Nope. It’s pronounced: angel-LI-ka. You say the word “angel” first.
That’s what my dad always told me. I was an angel first, and then I became a little girl. He would say, “I didn’t get just any little girl, no no no.” His dark eyes would turn gold for a second, and his lips hovered on the Spanish pronunciation. “My little girl was sent to me straight from heaven.”
Mom hates it when I talk about Dad. She’d rather forget, she says. Why don’t I keep my mouth shut and help her forget?
I’m glad I have you, journal, to tell instead. First, I want to tell you about his curly black hair that tickled my forehead when he kissed me goodnight. And then I want to tell you about his swan’s voice, which pretended to read from a book but I knew it read from his heart. I’d overheard my teacher say to Reina that my dad could barely write his own name, not to mention read a permission slip.
It didn’t matter, though. My dad told the best stories. My favorite was about a parrot that had overheard a murder. When the detectives had nearly given up on finding the culprit, the parrot repeated back a phrase it had witnessed on the night of the murder and the criminal was brought to justice.
The last thing I’ll tell you, journal, is I miss Dad more than anything else in the world. I miss him more than I miss our old house. (We sold it while my mom was looking for a job.) I miss him more than our old dog. (We gave her away because our new apartment doesn’t accept pets.) I miss him more than my old pink and yellow dress. (Mom traded it to the neighbors for a microwave.)
What I miss the most about my dad is how Mom’s entire face would turn red and rosy when he came home from work. The doorknob would turn, making a squeak creak groan, and no matter what she was doing, my mom would turn on her heel and sprint to the door. As it opened she’d untie her hair and straighten her clothes, and sometimes she’d even slip on some heeled shoes.
They would kiss. They’d kiss a lot if they couldn’t see me watching, and just a few pecks if I was standing nearby.
Mom’s up—she’s heard me tapping my pencil on the desk. She told me to start a journal, so I’d have someone to tell all of my big thoughts when she wasn’t around.
She probably won’t be happy if she finds me up this late, so I’d better go.
See you tomorrow, journal.
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